If you’re hankering to get a little closer to nature this summer, check out one of these opportunities to see some gorgeous wildlife right here in Georgia. From a giant park with a drive-through safari to a smaller rehabilitation center, there are plenty of opportunities to meet your wild neighbors. Some places even let you feed the animals, as long as you use the prescribed diet. Don’t bring your own snacks for the critters!
North Georgia Zoo And Petting Farm
2912 Paradise Valley Road
Cleveland, GA 30528
(706) 348-7279
www.northgeorgiazoo.com

The North Georgia Zoo and Petting Farm offers several wild animal encounters designed to help you get up close and personal with some of the state’s wildlife. There are wild cats, primates, otters, wolves, and even porcupines available for a special visit. The encounters are priced at $150 per person, or $100 if you have a group of five to ten people. They are available to guests aged 9 and older.

Aware Wildlife Center
4158 Klondike Road
Lithonia, GA 30038
(678) 418-1111
www.awarewildlife.org

The Aware Wildlife Center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the year helping to rescue and rehabilitate wild animals. In addition to this work, they also have on site programs for children and adults using several of the center’s “Ambassador Animals,” including owls, hawks, and squirrels. Every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m., the center offers tours at its facility so that guests can understand the work they do with the injured or orphaned wildlife. Visitors can even donate to adopt an animal and support the project.

Wild Animal Safari
1300 Oak Grove Road
Pine Mountain, GA 31822
(706) 663-8744
www.animalsafari.com

You don’t have to go all the way to Africa to see animals on safari – there is a park right here in Georgia! The drive-thru animal park offers guests a great opportunity to see over 65 different species of animals roaming the land. The park sells slobber towels in case you get a bit more up close and personal than you anticipated with your new friends. Expect to see giraffes, lizards, rhinoceroses, zebras, and many more creatures.

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Yellow River Game Ranch
4525 U.S. 78
Lilburn, GA 30047
(770) 972-6643
www.yellowrivergameranch.com

The Yellow River Game Ranch focuses on “people-friendly” wildlife, so it’s a great place to bring the kids to get them used to interacting with animals. Located near Stone Mountain, it’s a fun day drip for the whole family. There are bears, cougars, and deer in addition to cuddlier creatures like bunnies and sheep. Don’t forget to say hello to General Beauregard Lee, one of the state’s most famous weather-predicting groundhogs.

Tanglewood Farm
171 Tanglewood Drive
Canton, GA 30115
(770) 667-6464
www.tanglewoodfarmminiatures.com

Tanglewood Farm bills itself as “Atlanta’s best miniature petting zoo,” so you know you will see some interesting wildlife at this park. It is a great place for children to get to know less intimidating creatures, as they are on the tiny side. It’s a popular spot with school tours and other family outings. There are endless photo opportunities on pony rides and other cute moments that the kids will remember forever. You can even pan for gold and arrowheads!

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Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com. “
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